Assessment of Callous Unemotional Traits

What is this research about?

This research focuses on refining the measurement of callous-unemotional traits (i.e., lack of empathy/ guilt, uncaring attitudes) using a multi-method approach. Much of this research has focused on testing the factor structure, reliability and validity of a copyright-protected questionnaire called the Inventory of Callous-Unemotional Traits. This 24-item questionnaire was developed by Paul Frick at Louisiana State University to provide a comprehensive assessment of callous and unemotional traits. It is available in five versions, including youth self-report, parent report, teacher report, and preschool versions of the parent and teacher forms (available at Research from this group supports the reliability and validity of the Inventory of Callous-Unemotional Traits across a wide range of samples, ages, cultures, and language translations. This research group was the first to find support for the reliability and validity of scores from the Inventory of Callous-Unemotional Traits for pre-schoolers through to young adults, making this questionnaire well suited for examining callous-unemotional traits across the lifespan using a common measure. The research group has also published practical guidelines for using the Inventory of Callous-Unemotional Traits to inform the diagnosis of the ‘Limited Prosocial Emotions’ specifier to Conduct Disorder that was introduced in the fifth revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM–5) to identify youth showing callous-unemotional traits. A current focus of this research programme is on testing a structured professional judgment approach to assessing callous-unemotional traits using the Clinical Assessment of Prosocial Emotions: Version 1.1 (CAPE 1.1, Partnerships on this project include Karitane and NSW Juvenile Justice.

Other researcher involved:

Professor Paul Frick, Louisiana State University and Learning Sciences Institute of Australia, Australian Catholic University 

Associate Professor David Hawes


Kimonis, E.R., Kennealy, P.J., & Goulter, N. (in press). Does the self-report Inventory of Callous-Unemotional Traits predict recidivism? Psychological Assessment.

Kimonis, E.R., Fanti, K., Hadjicharalambous, X., Mertan, B., Goulter, N., & Katsimicha, E. (2016). Can callous-unemotional traits be reliably measured in preschoolers? Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 44, 625-638.

Kimonis, E.R., Fanti, K.A., Frick, P.J., Moffitt, T.E., Essau, C., Bijttebier, P. & Marsee, M.A. (2015). Using self-reported callous-unemotional traits to cross-nationally assess the DSM-5 “With Limited Prosocial Emotions” specifier. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 56(11), 1249-1261.

Pihet, S., Etter, S., Schmid, M., & Kimonis, E.R. (2015). Assessing callous-unemotional traits in adolescents: Testing the validity of the Inventory of Callous-Unemotional traits across diverse samples. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 37, 407-421.

Kimonis, E.R., Fanti, K., Goldweber, A., Marsee, M.A., Frick, P.J., & Cauffman, E. (2014). Callous-unemotional traits in incarcerated adolescents. Psychological Assessment, 26(1), 227-237.

Kimonis, E.R., Fanti, K.A., & Singh, J.P. (2014). Establishing cut-off scores for the parent-reported Inventory of Callous-Unemotional Traits. Archives of Forensic Psychology, 1(1), 27-48.

Kimonis, E.R., Branch, J., Hagman, B., Graham, N., & Miller, C. (2013). The psychometric properties of the Inventory of Callous–Unemotional Traits in an undergraduate sample. Psychological Assessment, 25(1), 84-93.

Cauffman, E., Kimonis, E.R., Dmitrieva, J, & Monahan, K. (2009). A multi-method assessment of juvenile psychopathy: Comparing the predictive utility of the PCL:YV, YPI, and NEO-PRI. Psychological Assessment, 21(4), 528-542.

Kimonis, E.R., Frick, P.J., Skeem, J.L., Marsee, M.A., Cruise, K., Muñoz, L.C., Aucoin, K.J., & Morris, A.S. (2008). Assessing callous-unemotional traits in adolescent offenders: Validation of the Inventory of Callous-Unemotional Traits. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 31 (3), 241-252.


Front page of Sydney Morning Herald on Friday September 11, 2015:

ABC 702 Breakfast Show Interview with Robbie Buck on Friday September 11, 2015 at 7:10am:

The Age:

Canberra Times:

ABC Radio Melbourne Mornings with Jon Faine ~9:15am September 11 2015:

Daily Mail:

ABC Radio Tasmania, Evening with Melanie Tait ~8:15pm September 15 2015: 

Early Learning Review: